DENVER – The New Mexico State volleyball team was voted by the league’s head coaches as the favorites to win the Western Athletic Conference, as announced on Tuesday. Additionally, Briana Ainsworth, Tatyana Battle and Megan Hart were named to the Preseason All-WAC Team.
The Aggies earned the WAC regular-season championship for a third-straight season while also securing the program’s fourth title in the past five years in 2017. The team went 21-8 with a 12-2 record in conference play. NMSU also posted a 13-match winning streak at the Pan American Center during the banner season.
Ainsworth joined the preseason team for a second-straight season and Battle received the preseason honor for a third-straight year while Hart made her first appearance as a preseason favorite. Ainsworth was 10th all-time in career assists with 2,105 entering her senior season as the Aggies’ starting setter. Battle posted 2,726 attack attempts prior to the season, ranking her ninth all-time in the category. The senior also earned First Team All-WAC honors following her sophomore and junior campaigns. Hart made her presence known last year when she racked up 75 kills and a .310 hitting percentage while also tallying 58 total blocks during her sophomore season.
NM State received six first-place votes and 62 total points to earn the top spot in the poll. UT Rio Grande Valley finished in second place with 57 points and the other three first-place votes. Reigning WAC Tournament champion CSU Bakersfield was pegged to finish third with 48 points, while Utah Valley was fourth with 42 points. UMKC was selected as fifth with 35 points, while Grand Canyon was sixth with 30 points. Seattle U was picked seventh with 23 points, while WAC newcomer California Baptist was selected eighth with 17 points. Chicago State rounded out the poll with 10 points.
New Mexico State hosts its annual Crimson and White scrimmage on Saturday, Aug. 18 at 3 p.m. MT at the Pan American Center. The Aggie officially open the season at the Wells Fargo Arena in Tempe, Ariz., when they take on Pacific, UT Arlington and host Arizona State at the Sun Devil Classic from Aug. 24-25.
2018 Preseason Coaches’ Poll
|Rank||Team (first-place votes)||Points|
|1||NM State (6)||62|
|2||UT Rio Grande Valley (3)||57|
2018 Preseason All-WAC Team
|Briana Ainsworth||Sr.||S||NM State|
|Kristen Allred||So.||OH||Utah Valley|
|Tatyana Battle||Sr.||OH||NM State|
|Teagan DeFalco||So.||OH||Grand Canyon|
|Emma Dyer||Gr.||M||Kansas City|
|Alexandra Ecker||Sr.||MB||UT Rio Grande Valley|
|Alicia Harrington||Jr.||OH||Kansas City|
|Shae Harris||Sr.||S||Seattle U|
|Megan Hart||Jr.||MB||NM State|
|Ragni Steen Knudsen||Sr.||OH||UT Rio Grande Valley|
|Briannah Mariner||Sr.||OH||CSU Bakersfield|
|Barbara Silva||Jr.||RS||UT Rio Grande Valley|
|Maja Stojanovic||Sr.||M||Seattle U|
|Desiree Sukhov||So.||OH||CSU Bakersfield|